Professor Gavin Parker

Professor of Planning Studies

Professor Gavin Parker

Professor Gavin Parker

Real Estate & Planning
HBS 127, Whiteknights Campus
+44 (0) 118 378 6460



Gavin is Chair of Planning Studies. A chartered planner, Professor Parker maintains a strong research interest in citizenship, participation and governance in land, planning and development. He is interested in the relationship between land and people and considerations of property rights and conflict over land use. This interest spans the urban and rural divide and a number of policy fields. He has maintained a thread of research that is concerned with interactions and tensions between actors involved in planning and development throughout his research career. This has been manifest in the body of work he has produced on participation in planning and on neighbourhood planning in England.

Gavin has been actively researching community and neighbourhood planning with numerous reports and publications that have been shaping policy agendas in this area. He has also been exploring the changing nature of planning and the profession, including the shifting roles of the public, private and third sector. He has a keen interest in the application of theory to practice and seeks to demonstrate the value of theory in his research and teaching.

Gavin was one of the three executive directors of the Royal Town Planning Institute between 2012-2014, appointed on a secondment basis. His responsibilities included: education, membership, regions, professional standards and Planning Aid England. His work with Planning Aid continued and extended his interest and expertise in neighbourhood planning, public participation and community engagement in planning. Gavin chaired the Community Council for Berkshire from 2006 to 2011 and is currently a secretary of state appointed board member of the New Forest National Park Authority (appointed 2017) and is a Trustee of the Reading YMCA. He is also the vice-chair of the RTPI London Southbank University Partnership board. Internationally Gavin has developed a particular interest in land use, community and planning policy in Japan and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and held JSPS funded visiting fellow posts there as well as at Tsukuba and Seikei Universities.

Amongst numerous academic and policy oriented publications Gavin has authored four books: ‘Citizenships, Contingency and the Countryside’ (Routledge, 2002); ‘Key Concepts in Planning’ (Sage, 2012) with Joe Doak; ‘Enabling Participatory Planning’ (Policy Press, 2018) with Emma Street; and ‘Neighbourhood Planning in Practice’ (Lund Humphries, 2019) with Kat Salter and Matt Wargent - which won the 2019 RTPI research award for public engagement and is aimed at those involved in Community Planning. Gavin is currently working on a fifth book with Emma Street as co-editor, on the text ‘Contemporary Planning Practice: skills, specialisms and knowledges’ (Macmillan, 2020).

Gavin is keen to work with potential doctoral researchers wishing to pursue any of the themes expressed above and in particular participation in planning and neighbourhood planning topics.


  • PhD - Land, Citizenship and Property Rights (Bristol)
  • MPhil - Town Planning (London)
  • BSc (Hons) - Land Economy (London)
  • Chartered Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute (FRTPI)
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


Expertise in planning; Neighbourhood planning; Community engagement and planning; Countryside planning; Local decision making; Land and property rights; Land use conflict.

Current PhD students

Joe Doak: Five Hundred Years of Non-Linear History: Exploring Land-Ownership, Property Development and its Social Regulation in Central Reading 1500-2000. First supervisor

Katherine Salter: Assembling localism: the role and response(s) of local planning authorities to neighbourhood planning in England. First supervisor


View a full list of Professor Gavin Parker's publications

Key Publications

Parker, G., Dobson, M., Lynn, T. and Salter, K. (2020) ‘Entangling Voluntarism, Leisure Time and Political Work: The Governmentalities of Neighbourhood Planning in England’. Leisure Studies published online

Wargent, M., Parker, G. and Street, E. (2020) ‘Public-private entanglements: consultant use by Local Planning Authorities in England’. European Planning Studies Vol. 28(1): 192-210.

Parker, G., Street, E. and Wargent, M. (2018) ‘The rise of the private sector in fragmentary planning in England’, Planning Theory & Practice, 19(5): 734-750.

Wargent, M. and Parker, G. (2018) Re-imagining neighbourhood governance: the future of neighbourhood planning in England. Town Planning Review, 89(4): 379-402.

Parker, G. and Salter, K. (2017) ‘Taking Stock of Neighbourhood Planning in England 2011-2016’ Planning Practice and Research, 32(4): 478-490.

Parker, G., Lynn, T. and Wargent, M. (2017) Contestation and conservatism in neighbourhood planning in England. Reconciling agonism and collaboration? Planning Theory and Practice. doi: 10.1080/14649357.2017.1316514

Parker, G., Lynn, T. and Wargent, M. (2015) 'Sticking to the Script? The Co-production of Neighbourhood Planning in England', Town Planning Review, Vol. 86(5): 519-536.

Parker, G. and Street, E. (2015) 'Planning at the neighbourhood scale: localism, dialogic politics and the modulation of community action'. Environment and Planning 'C': Government and Policy, Vol. 33(4): 794-810.